Gov’t mulls ‘full-time’ Customs exec to authorize rice import permits

MANILA MalacaAang on Monday said President Rodrigo R. Duterte is considering the designation of a full-time Bureau of Customs (BOC) official to authorize the issuance of import permits for rice to streamline the procedure.

Isa sa solusyon na naiisip ay magkaroon ng isang (One of the solutions being considered is designating) full-time Customs person who will authorize the issuance of import permits for rice, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Roque explained that one of the reasons why there were delays in the delivery of rice imports is because people involved in the signing of permits were unavailable.

Naaantala iyong importation kasi minsan iyong pumipirma ay kasama ng chairman ng Customs so natatambak o hindi napipirmahan iyong mga import permits na nagiging dahilan kaya hindi rin mababa iyong mga bigas (There are delays in importation sometimes because the one signing is with the chairman of Customs so it gets piled up or not signed which becomes the reason why they can't release the rice), Roque said.

Roque did not provide details on who Duterte wants to designate to authorize the issuance of permits but noted that it should be someone who regularly stays in the office.

Hindi ko po alam kung sino ang na-designate. Pero ngayon po kasi parang may chief of staff si Commissioner LapeAa na siyang pumipirma, na kapag nag-a-out of town si Commissioner LapeAa ay wala rin siya (I don't know who will be designated. But as of now, BOC Commissioner Isidro LapeAa has a chief of staff who signs the permits but is also out of town when LapeAa is away), Roque said.

So ang isang naisip na solusyon ng mga importers ay magtalaga ng isang tao na hindi aalis sa opisina ng Customs para lang pumirma ng mga import documents pagdating sa bigas (So one of the solutions of importers is to designate a person who won't leave the Customs office to sign the import documents), he added.

Roque, meanwhile, assured that the Philippines still has ample supply of rice since the government is allowing the importation of rice. However, he acknowledged that rice hoarders remained a problem.

Asked if Duterte had plans to sack National Food Authority (NFA) Jason Aquino, Roque remained tight-lipped, saying it is a decision for the President to make.

I'd rather that the President make that declaration if he has made up his mind on it, Roque said.

Earlier, Roque urged the NFA and its policy-making body, the NFA Council, to stop blaming each other for the country's insufficient rice supply and its increased prices.

NFA blamed the bureaucracy at the NFA Council for the delayed arrival of imported rice to prevent the stock from depleting.

The NFA Council, however, said that it was NFA's fault for submitting its rice supply inventory late and making a declaration of rice shortage.

Hindi po dapat nagsisisihan (They should stop blaming each other), Roque said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency